- Live migration: move persistent images across compute nodes
- virtual machines take over: star managing images you have on the hypervisor even if they've not been created by SmartCloud Provisioning
- Group level administration: share images, networks, volumes, and elastic IPs among users belonging to the same group
- Integration with Microsoft Active Directory
- Deploy images with multiple volumes
- Diagnostic tool for problem determination: launch just one command to collect all meaningful log data across your whole SmartCloud Provisioning infrastructure
- Command line for Image Construction and Composition Tool: you can now integrate image extension into your development tools
- Extend Windows 2008r2 and Windows 7 images using Image Construction and Composition Tool
- Standalone installer for Virtual Image Library
- Portability checks and remediation: use Virtual Image Library to help you understand why an image cannot be checked out into SmartCloud Provisioning and help you fix it
A new beta drop for IBM SmartCloud Provisioning is available.
Here below you can see the list of key functionalities included:
If you would like to try out the new features without the effort of installing the product, join the community and play with our hosted beta
If you would like to download the code, go here
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In this new blog post I would like to describe a root-cause detection scenario using IBM Smart Cloud Provisioning.
Given the ever increasing number of virtual machine instances and VM images in a cloud ecosystem it is becoming more and more important to track each of virtual image's contents and configuration mainly for standardization and consolidation purposes.
Another situation where tracking this content may also be useful is when there is the need to identify the "drift" between a deployed virtual machine and the virtual image that was used to create it, as for example in the scenario described below.
As soon as a virtual machine gets deployed from a virtual image its content will start to change; the owner of that virtual machine begins using it by creating new files, by using its applications, by installing/uninstalling software and so on. Because of one of the above actions it may happen that the system, or a specific application, may no longer work correctly. At this point one of the things that may be done to understand what could be the cause of such malfunctions is to identify all the changes applied to the instance compared to the source virtual image and look at them trying to identify the “culprit” change in order to take appropriate actions for repairing the situation. This is a typical scenario where the IBM Virtual Image Library component of IBM Smart Cloud Provisioning comes at help through its indexing and drift analysis capabilities.
As already highlighted in a previous blog entry the IBM Virtual Image Library is a tool that provides sophisticated image-management capabilities a customer can use to tackle the difficult issues of understanding and controlling the contents of his virtual infrastructure. Let's see how this tool may help in troubleshooting the scenario we have described above.
The first step is to identify the failing virtual machine among the ones available in the IBM Virtual Image Library repositories. The tool continuously indexes the configured repositories of virtual machines and images so that its data model is always up to date with the actual content of the virtual infrastructure.
Once the virtual machine has been identified the next step is to retrieve the virtual image from which it has been deployed. This is another feature provided by the tool that keeps track of the entire tree of relationships among virtual images and virtual machines available in the environment.
The next step, if not already previously done, is to run an indexing operation of the virtual machine so that its content, in terms of installed applications, OS information and file-level information can be retrieved and brought into the tool's data model.
Once the indexing is complete the source virtual image content and the virtual machine content can be compared. A list of differences is presented to the user so that he/she can review them and decide what differences may be the most likely reason for the problem.
For example, from this report the user may notice that a suspect application has been installed into the virtual machine that shouldn't be there or that a configuration file, used by the application that is malfunctioning, has been modified.
He/she can use these hints as a starting point for troubleshooting the issue and for taking repair actions.
The following movie demonstrates, by means of an example, the capabilities described above.
What has been described here is just an example of the drift analysis capabilities of the IBM Virtual Image Library with the intent to give you an introduction to the advanced features of this component. If you are interested in understanding more deeply how the IBM Virtual Image Library works and to have a summary of all of its capabilities you can take a look at the following paper:
One of the messages behind cloud computing is "pay-per-use": the adoption of a virtualized, standardized, self service and automated environment should come with the possibility to be charged only for the used resources.
IBM SmartCloud Provisoning comes with an idea of low complexity, low administration and ease of use.
Keeping these messages in mind, I was thinking at how to extract metering information. I had in mind something easy, doable also by people who definitely do not want to invest in programming, that does not need any modification to database tables to store historical data.
So I had a look at the available IBM SmartCloud Provisioning interfaces and I just found a couple of command line commands that could help me achieving my goal:
iaas-describe-resources-inuse-by-access and iaas-describe-accesses-by-user
The first command displays the number of images, cores and the amount of memory and disk space in use by a specific access ID. So this commands shows the key measures that in cloud computing are usually taken into consideration for usage and accounting.
The second command shows the relationship between access IDs and user IDs. This mapping helps in building metering information per user and not per access ID. In a simple environment the map is 1-1, but for example you may have the same user accessing more VM regions and so having multiple access IDs associated.
Given these two command, it is pretty straightforward to setup a couple of cronjobs/periodic tasks (depending if you would like to do it on Linux or on Windows) that with a predefined sequence ( for example once a hour) will extract this data and store it in a temporary file.
You can then have a another cronjob/periodic task that sums up all these information daily, per user, maybe adding your specific rate codes. If you choose to store this data for example in a CSV file, then you can easily import it into a reporting engine.
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Using IBM SmartCloud Provisioning end users can easily create and use new virtual machines without taking care about how they are running and where they came from. Users just pick up an image to be deployed from a catalog and run it. These means that in order to fulfill all requests the catalog should be as wide as possible. Theoretically it should contains all possible combination of Operative System plus software. Meaning that cloud administrators must manage thousands and thousands of image. Number of base images increase quickly improving management costs, which may lead to a much more expensive solution rather than a cost saver infrastructure. Looking to INTERNET, there are several suggestion to consolidate your image catalog to be as smaller as possible.
Best way to create and to maintain a small image catalog is to create few standard configuration depending on the user's job role. For example a developer could require an Ubuntu systems with Lotus Notes and Rational Software Architect installed on it, while a tester may need a Windows system with TEM agent, DB2 and some other middleware to run his test scenario. In this case we can define a standard so that any user can ask for end usage driven Virtual Image deployment. She/he will require to deploy an image not selecting it by its content, but based on its job.
Even if it is a good suggestion, it could not be easy to implement. In fact if you are creating your cloud solution from scratch you can force end user to select in a small catalog the best image fitting their requirement. But if you already have your cloud environment up a running for a while and your image catalog is already out of control, its consolidation could not be an easy job. Cloud administrators should open all virtual images to look into them, understanding their content. And than decide which is the most representative, making them master templates. Just think to do this job for thousands of image.
Luckily IBM Virtual Image Library will help you in this work.
One of key features for IBM Virtual Image Library is the capacity to introspect virtual image understanding their content and allowing loud administrators to compare between them. In this way they will be able to understand how much two images are similar. When you register an operation repository to IBM Virtual Image Library, a discovery process starts. During this phase information about all images and virtual machines are retrieved from remote repository. At this time only meta data about remote objects are stored locally. Moreover virtual images are indexed, reading their contents remotely.
Once registration has finished you have possibility to start working with your catalog. Most useful operation are:
As you can imagine having a so powerful tool it will be an easy job to define your master images (defining standard configurations). And to consolidate them by merging similar images reducing them to a smaller and manageable set.
Core function for previous feature is IBM Virtual Image Library capability to introspect remote images. There are two types of analysis available:
In both cases IBM Virtual Image Library will not copy any image locally, but simply connect to remote hypervisor data store to read image disk. Reducing time and network traffic spent during this operation.
IBM Virtual Image Library allows you to introspect remote images to consolidate their number removing the unnecessary one. One you consolidated them you can also import the smallest catalog into IBM Virtual Image Library reference repository allowing you to move across hypervisors. As mentioned in Image portability across hypervisors
In a dynamic cloud environment standard concepts like IP addresses and storage volumes assume a special meaning when it comes to reserving and using them regardless of the virtual machines owned by a cloud user.
The concept of Elastic IP (EIP) and Elastic Block Storage (EBS) was initially introduced by Amazon EC2 as a way to decouple the resources assigned to a cloud user from their utilization. In other words, as a cloud user you can reserve an elastic resource and assign it to one of the VMs you own, but you can also re-assign it to a different VM whenever you need (for example, whenever you need to replace your VM with a new one).
SmartCloud Provisioning offers similar capabilities exposing the concepts of Static Addresses and Persistent Volumes that can be reserved and assigned to any running VMs.
A SmartCloud Provisioning address is a statically defined address which can be dynamically bound to any instance in the cloud. In other words, a static IP address is associated with your account, not with a particular instance, and you control that address until you choose to explicitly release it.
Let’s examine more in details how it works.
When SmartCloud Provisioning creates a VM, it assigns a dynamic IP address to it, on a default management sub-network. From this point on, the system always refers to the VM using the dynamic address assigned at boot time. Nonetheless, SmartCloud Provisioning offers to cloud users the possibility of assigning a different IP address, which can be seen as a reserved and static IP.
In order to achieve this result, a centralized pool of addresses is registered by the cloud administrator and stored in a durable data service. A cloud user can then reserve one or more addresses from this pool, and can associate one of them to a specific VM he owns. Note that the cloud user does not have any clue about which address will be reserved for him; he does not even know upfront if there is any static IP address left, until he sends the reservation request.
Once a static IP has been reserved and assigned to a VM, SmartCloud Provisioning internally creates a mapping between the default dynamic address associated to the selected VM and the reserved IP address. This translates into NAT rules on the host OS's iptables to forward all traffic to the private address of that VM.
In this way you can always refer to your VM using the static address, and even if you decide to re-create the VM, you can reassign that same address to the new VM.
The address remains in your reserved list as long as you need it, and you can release it when you no longer need it.
Persistent storage is critical to any non-trivial production application. Just as Amazon's EBS has proven to be extremely valuable, SmartCloud Provisioning persistent volumes are equally powerful, offering an off-instance storage that persists independently from the life of an instance. Users can create arbitrary numbers of arbitrarily sized persistent volumes. The volumes can be dynamically attached to any VM on the cloud as long as only one instance is attached at any time.
Once attached, a persistent volume appears to the guest OS like any other raw, unformatted block device.
Each persistent volume is assigned a UUID, which can be leveraged by the cloud user to track them.
RAID sets can be easily created together to ensure each volume is hosed on a separate physical host/device.
Multiple block devices will then be exposed to the guest OS which can establish their own raided meta-devices using tools like mdadm.
Behind the scenes, these block devices are very similar to the primary boot disk of a non persistent VM. However, these are read-write iSCSI devices and directly attached to the instance without leveraging Copy-on-Write. Note persistent block storage is also hosted on the same storage cluster used for master images.
Similarly to the static IP addresses, the persistent volumes are associated with your account, not with a particular instance, and you control them until you choose to explicitly delete them.
The persistent volumes allow you to keep your data separate from the OS, offering you the possibility to move them from a VM to another whenever you need. Moreover, they offer a valid mechanism to keep your data safe when dealing with VMs that do not have a dedicated persistent storage (the non-persistent VMs managed by SmartCloud Provisioning).
If you're interested in trying the SmartCloud Provisioning product, you can download a trial version from the following link:
Have you ever wanted access to what the development team is planning for the future, along with the ability to provide direct feedback on each item within a planned release? With Tivoli's shift towards transparent development, now you can. Transparent Development is the ongoing, open engagement between IBM development and our users on the development of our products. The emphasis is on being open and transparent about our direction and providing you with open access to key release content, including:
IBM SmartCloud Application Performance Management is one of the first products to adopt transparent development within Tivoli. Through the new project dashboard on Service Management Connect, you can view the current release plan and provide direct feedback on what the team is developing. All you need is a developerWorks ID and password to access the release plan, and to provide your feedback. To access the IBM SmartCloud Application Performance Management project dashboard and see what's ahead, click here. To post comments and other feedback on the forum, click here.
Harini_Jagannathan 270004KU7K 4,377 Views
When you modify an existing out-of-the-box report, how do you replace IBM logo with your company logo? It’s as simple as copying your image in a couple of locations and pointing an image URL within Report Studio to your image. Let’s see how you can do this with TCR 2.1.
For TCR 2.1, images need to be stored in 2 locations:
<TIP_HOME>\profiles\TIPProfile\installedApps\TIPCell\IBM Cognos 8.ear\p2pd.war\tivoli\<product>\images\
The first directory listed above is used for HTML reports displayed within TCR. The second directory is used for Excel, PDF, and emailed HTML. [Continue Reading]
Rethink IT. Reinvent Business
marvin_goodman 11000085U5 Tags:  cloud_cost_management cloud-monitoring smartcloudmonitoring 5,398 Views
In February, the IT industry analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) released its first Radar™ for Application Performance Management (APM) for Cloud Services report.
IBM scored above the norm on all five axes measured – Architecture & Integration, Functionality, Deployment & Administration, Cost Advantage and Overall Vendor Strength.In addition to garnering the highest scores of any vendor, IBM was also noted for demonstrating “an in-depth understanding of the complex factors that support quality Cloud deployments." EMA goes on to extol the virtues of IBM's APM solution, asserting that:
Echoing recent analyst briefings on the use cases and customer value proposition vision of SmartCloud Monitoring, EMA said “We are seeing a new role within IT organizations called the ‘Cloud administrator’. Some companies are using an existing virtualization person, skilled in VMware or other virtualization technology. It is really important for a company to have such a role, and to have designated “Cloud architects”, as these skills are necessary to take a cross-platform, hybrid approach to Cloud rollouts.”
Read the full EMA report at the following URL: http://w3-03.ibm.com/software/analyst/articles/ema/emaapm.pdf
Pino 100000UGHN Tags:  servicemanagementconnect service-management virtualization cloud ism user-data 5,029 Views
I really liked the post “Rapid deployments with IBM
SmartCloud Provisioning” that explains
how simple and fast it is to deploy instances using SmartCloud Provisioning.
IBM SmartCloud Provisioning provides in the launch instance panel, and also using the CLI, the “user_data” text field that can be used for this scope.
It is inspired to the Amazon EC2 instance metadata and here you can find an interesting article on it: http://alestic.com/2009/06/ec2-user-data-scripts
The “user_data” field is a free text field so for example it can contain:
The launched instance can easily retrieve the user data field invoking the predefined URL http://169.254.169.254/latest/user-data and processes it according the needs.
It can be achieved by exploiting the current integration between IBM SmartCloud Provisioning and the Image Construction and Composition Tool (ICCT), available in IBM SmartCloud Provisioning version 1.2, creating a new bundle, the User-Data consumer bundle that contains a script that retrieves the “user-data” and process it based on his needs.
An interesting scenario is the capability of passing directly one or more scripts to be invoked at deployment time to have a really dynamic configuration. In this way, a new image can be configured/customized at deployment time.
If you want to have more information on user-data capabilities and examples take a look at the Ubuntu cloud-init component described here https://help.ubuntu.com/community/CloudInit
For further information about IBM SmartCloud Provisioning and Image Construction and Composition Tool see IBM SmartCloud Provisioning Information Center.
The open beta program for the upcoming IBM SmartCloud Provisioning release started:
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Among top challenges for cloud, Security is the top most concern. There are several concerns with regard to securing the cloud. Cloud computing tests the limits of security operations and infrastructure for the various security and privacy domains. Check out all the details of these interesting topic discussed as part of these blog posts.
Follow/ Click the tag “stepbystep” once you are on cloud computing central to see all the previous posts on the topic.
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In my previous blog I talked about the speed of deployment of virtual machines when using IBM Smart Cloud Provisioning. I showed that virtual machines can be started and configured in a matter of seconds and I described a little in bit in details how this could be achieved in terms of the internal infrastructure of the product.
Let's consider, for example, how you can manage of one of the core elements of the solution: the compute node (i.e. the node where the virtual machines are hosted and run).
Several variations from the basic setup described above are possible depending on the actual topology of the environment and on the kind of nodes to be installed.
If you're interested in trying IBM Smart Cloud Provisioning, you can download a demo version from here:
ChrisNero 120000EDBS 4,347 Views
Understanding IT Costs, Cost Variance and Budgets versus Actuals with New TUAM Cognos Reports and Dashboards
DLawson 27000369MF Tags:  cognos tuam reports showback chargeback cloud_cost_management tcr accounting 13,088 Views
The TUAM team are pleased to announce the delivery of a further 17 TCR Cognos reports. These enhance the existing TUAM reporting set plus allow you to:
Dashboards allow users to get an immediate understanding of the situation at-a-glance. As an introduction to Dashboards in Cognos, reports to demonstrate two methods for creating dashboards have been provided in this report pack. Users can build pages in Cognos containing reports as well as other Cognos navigation objects and set this to be their home page when accessing Common Reporting:
For more information about Dashboards, log on to the IBM Integrated Service Management library.
Two reports are also provided to allow users to understand how they are doing against their budget. The Line Item Budget report compares usage against budget at service level to help identify those services using more than their allotted budget. Similarly, the Client Budget Report is a new report showing a comparison of the client level budget with the actual charges for the client, with any deviations from the budget highlighted:
The Client Budget Report can also be used to help monitor the actual costs of a Cloud project. For example, the budget for different periods can be updated when you get a charges estimate for a new Cloud project and the report can then show the difference in what you were actually charged later. The difference will be as a result of server configurations or the duration of project changing after the estimate was produced. More details on this can be found in the cost preview blog entry here.
The Percentage report allows users to understand the charges by sub-client and service by showing the total charges and its associated percentage of the overall costs by both client and service. For cloud users, this allows you to drilldown to understand the distribution between projects and teams. Users can expand and collapse the report to get a full understanding of all the areas being charged.
Reports to compare both the charges and usage between periods have been provided in this report pack. The Cost Variance report compares the charges from the current and previous period by client and service providing an understanding of the changes in charges over time. Similarly, the Resource Variance report compares the usage in the same way so users can see in detail how usage is changing from period to period.
Drill Down Reports
Drill down through the account hierarchy and see the services being used by each client with the Application Cost Report. Cloud users can drilldown into their projects and teams to get an understanding of what resources are being used and their charges. Users can see the charges for each level in the Account hierarchy and the associated charge for each service and service group being used.